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How to Press Roses and Rose Buds

How to Press Both an Open Rose and a Rose Bud

Pink Spray Roses Pressed and Framed


Sometimes (not usually) I microwave roses once to start them off, then let them sit a few minutes to cool completely, change the paper and microwave a second time. Then I change the paper and put the roses in a well ventilated press and store it in the refrigerator to finish drying, changing the papers daily for the first couple of days.

Red is a hard color to keep in roses. Start with a very dark pink or orangish-red rose to end up with a nicely colored pressed red rose. I grow a shrub Rose in my garden called "Robin Hood" with delicate looking single roses. All of these press to a nice bright red and holds color for a long time, at least 18 years so far!


Prepare Your Fresh Roses

  • Cut the stem (at least an inch or two) while under water to give it a fresh cut, then put it in a vase or something with very warm (not hot) water and flower food, like you get from the florist when you flowers. (Use sugar if you don't have the preservative.) This will hydrate the Rose and feed it so it's in the best possible condition for pressing. Let it sit like that for a couple of hours.

  • Now that your Rose has been conditioned it should look nice and fresh, it's probably opened up a little more or maybe even a lot more. If so, this is a good sign. Always try to avoid bruising the petals; You may want to remove a couple of the outer petals depending on how they look.

  • Pour a little vinegar in a cup, take it to the sink and dip the flower head in it. Yes it sounds weird, but it will help preserve the pink and red pigments in the Rose. Just submerse it, take it out, shake it off gently, then give the stems a fresh cut.

  • Place the stems back in fresh water with cut flower food to sit until the petals dry. You can pat gently with paper tissue to speed this up.

  • While waiting for the Rose to dry, prepare your pressing materials.

Pressing Open Roses

Pressing White RosesThe center of the rose is thicker than the petals. Cut the flower off right beneath the rose before you press it, removing the calyx. (The calyx is the fat green part on the top of the stem, just under the petals.) Be careful; if you remove too much your petals will fall off. If they fall off you can press the petals or dry them for potpourri.

With the rose facing upward... gently work the petals open and into the position that you want the flower to be pressed.

Naturally, rose petals curve up toward the center. To get your rose to lie flat, you will shape each petal by gently inversing the curve so the petal's curve is in the opposite direction. Arrange them face-up on your blotter and press. Otherwise, they'll just look smashed.

If your rose has a lot of petals, gently remove some of the petals, making sure the rose still looks good. There are plenty of petals that won't show when pressed, so this won't adversely affect the look of your rose. This is done to both speed up pressing and to make the rose lie flatter when pressed.

Now you have your rose still intact, and you can press as usual. Optionally, you can put your press with the Rose in it, into the refrigerator. This can really help with white roses. Don't seal the press in a plastic bag or anything... it needs to breathe.

Change your blotters every couple of days, and your Rose should be done in about 2 weeks.

Pressing Rose Buds:

Tiny miniature rose buds can be pretty easy, depending on what you have. Just pinch out a little of the calyx to reduce bulk and press as usual.

Medium to large rose buds take a little more time. Use a very sharp blade, like a box cutter, to cut your rose laterally from the top of the calyx and down to the bottom of the stem.

Once this is done, gently pull the rose apart at the calyx, so the petals separate, leaving you with 2 buds.

Now hollow out the calyx to remove the bulky white stuff, taking care not to go too far up or your petals will fall off.

Remove any damaged petals. Now your rose buds should lie flat and are ready to be pressed as usual.

Microwave Option: When you have your roses ready to press, start them in the microwave to cut down on pressing time, then finish in the press. Try not to completely dry the flowers in the microwave, they can easily be over cooked. Never microwave your foliage; it will harm the chlorophyll, thereby losing the color of your leaves.

Disassemble and Reassemble Your Rose: You can take your rose apart and then reassemble it once the rose has dried. To do this, press petals separately, taking care to avoid overlap. In the center of the rose there are smaller conical shaped petals; press those too. Also, shape a few of the medium sized petals into a conical shape before pressing. After your petals are pressed, simply arrange the petals in a circular pattern, overlapping a bit, then keep repeating, working toward the center until the bottom of your rose petals are together. Then take the conical petals and arrange them in the center in an upward direction.

Pressing Your Roses Later: If you don't have time to press your roses right away; just place them loosely in a plastic zip-lock bag, blow into it and seal. Blowing in the bag gives your flowers carbon dioxide which is good for them, Now, close the bag and put it in the refrigerator to press later. If you need to extend the time in storage, you can include a paper towel soaked with alcohol. Or you put vases in the refrigerator, just make sure you use cut flower food.

1000 Fresh Roses From EcuadorStoring Lots of Roses: If you just have way too many roses to press right away, you should do what the professionals do; it's time proven and works very well.

If you get your flowers from a wholesaler ask them not to condition them. Flower farms dry pack their roses to ship under refrigeration. Once the roses get to the wholesaler they are either conditioned and sold, or left in dry storage for a couple days and then conditioned. Usually some of both if your wholesaler is high volume.

If you're buying a lot of roses retail, ask your florist to order dry pack (unconditioned) roses for you. This way you can wake them up and press on your own schedule.

Decide how man cut off about 3-4 inches diagonally and put them in the water, and then let them sit out for 12-24 hours. If you crowd them, they won't open as fast... this is what you want. By now the roses you first kept out will be in your presses. Take a few bunches out of the water and put them in fresh water in your vases. Change the water and put the rest in your cooler to store. Repeat until they're all in your presses.

If you're like me and don't have a cooler or second refrigerator, you can use your stand alone freezer. I keep mine unplugged and just put in five 10 pound blocks of ice. (blocks last longer)  The temp will be good. I foolishly bought a new freezer for this purpose, but you can probably get an old broken freezer for nothing that will suit this purpose perfectly.


What is More Simple Than a Rose? What is More Elegant?


Pressed Pink Rose


Pressed Yellow Roses




Pressed Red Spray Roses


Pressed Red Garden Roses


Pressed Pink Rose


Rose Buds that have been pressed with the method given on this page